Jesse Weiner

Associate Professor of Classics Jesse Weiner recently presented papers at two international conferences, both of which he attended via Zoom.

He spoke at a symposium on “Ancient Necropolitics: Politicizing Death and the Dead in Ancient Greece” at the Conference in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Coimbra in Coimbra, Portugal.

Weiner’s paper, “Odysseus’ Corpses: Necropolitics and Homer’s Odyssey,” drew upon the political theory of Achille Mbembe and Giorgio Agamben to argue that Odysseus’ use of violence and his treatment of the dead represent a necropolitical claim to sovereignty as he takes back his kingship and home. Moreover, Weiner said, the ways in which Odysseus wields sovereign power over human bodies serves to reinforce social hierarchies and the abject condition of slavery.

Weiner also presented at a conference titled “Classical Reception Studies: State of the Discipline and New Directions,” hosted by Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

His paper, “The Master's Tools?: Towards a Politics of Reception,” questioned whether postcolonial receptions of the Greek and Roman classics to address contemporary issues from a politically progressive viewpoint were truly subversive, or whether the act of turning to Greece and Rome reinforces the very hierarchies of power these works purport to challenge.

Weiner drew on Audre Lorde to suggest that “these tensions between subversion and collusion might not be possible to resolve,” and suggested that “works that stage transformative interventions upon their ancient source texts might productively work within these tensions.”

To illustrate, he presented two case studies — a 16th-century French translation of Virgil’s Aeneid and a 21st-century hip-hop song.

Weiner also chaired a panel on “Digital Pedagogy and Public Engagement” at the conference.

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